June 5, 2020

Costa Rica studies the case of a recovered person who returned positive for COVID-19

The Costa Rican Ministry of Health reported on Friday that it is studying an “atypical case” of COVID-19 of a person who was discharged after two negative tests, but who days later returned positive.

Health Minister Daniel Salas said at the daily press conference that there may be various explanations for this case and not necessarily a reinfection, so authorities are fully investigating the situation.

The patient was diagnosed on March 27 after a trip abroad and was discharged after refusing two tests in 24 hours applied on April 21 and 22.

However, this person remained with symptoms of loss of smell and taste, and also developed fever, so on May 14 a new test was performed, which tested positive, Salas said.

The minister commented that the investigation includes the chain of tests and the people who applied them, in order to determine if there was any failure in taking and handling the sample.

Complementary examinations to the patient will also be practiced and some of its characteristics will be studied.

“It is a case that has lasted a long time. Globally, they have been documented and it is difficult to think that there is a person who soon becomes infected again,” said Salas.

The minister recalled that the current SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is new and that studies are needed to clarify its behavior, including the issue of subsequent immunity that it generates in those recovered.

The case that the Costa Rican authorities are studying becomes even more atypical because the patient has already had the virus for almost 2 months and during that time there were two other negative tests on April 9 and 14, but it tested positive 24 hours after each one.

In Costa Rica, to declare a person as recovered requires two negative tests with a 24-hour difference between each one.


Official data updated as of this Friday indicates that Costa Rica added 8 new cases of COVID-19 for a total of 911 since the first was diagnosed on March 6.

So far 600 people have recovered (65.9%), 10 have died (1.1%), and they remain active with the 301 virus (33%).

There are currently 14 people hospitalized, of which 4 are in intensive care units.

Minister Salas detailed other statistical data of the pandemic, such as the epidemiological links of the infected.

These data indicate that 30.4% of the cases recorded in Costa Rica are related to a trip abroad; 24.5% correspond to work ties, 20.3% to family ties, 13.3% to social coexistence, 3.5% to other ties such as cases registered in a migrant detention center.

The remaining 8% of cases are still under investigation for their link.

In order to control the transmission of the virus, Costa Rica began on May 16 the first of four phases of a plan to de-escalate restrictions on economic activities, and plans to start the second on June 1.


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